I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.She by Michelle Latiolais
Published by W. W. Norton & Company on May 3, 2016
Genres: Coming of Age, Short Stories & Anthologies
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A nameless fifteen-year-old runs away to Los Angeles, seeking life beyond the harsh constraints of her evangelical upbringing. She is the narrative of her passage, from her escape on a bus through her quiet, determined progress across the city’s unforgiving terrain. The journey takes her into and around the lives of Angelinos from all walks: a dancer whose hyperactive sense of smell makes her fiance’s presence insufferable; a penniless botanist who earns her keep creating sugar-icing flowers to decorate glamorous wedding cakes she can never afford; a dentist lamenting the abuses done to the teeth of a patient for whom he has cared dutifully. Her odd encounters, set against the backdrop of Los Angeles’s flagrant wealth, cast into relief its eccentricities and the everyday trials faced by its collection of lost souls. Together these stories reflect and refract one another, illuminating a poignant, unflinching portrait of loss and the search for identity in its wake.
She sounded so great. A modern day Go Ask Alice where a 15 year-old runs from an abusive home to the mean streets of Los Angeles. A nameless everygirl, the titular she could have been a powerful literary figure that could have spoken to a generation. Unfortunately her story was interspersed with those of other nameless women inhabiting the city. Those other stories broke up the lovely narrative and confused the story.
The plot of the main story was fantastic; a young girl striking out on her own and depending on strangers for assistance. The other stories filling out the plot detracted from the main plot and muddied it rather than enhancing it. The writing of Michelle Latiolais was very good in the main sections where there was a coherent storyline. In the other shorts, it was looser and did not seem to match. The pacing was spot on in the main section and confusing in the others. The world built was very nebulous with few locations described. The emotions matched the rest of the sections, in the main story line they were great and I really felt with her and in the other stories had no connection. The characters in She were confusing. Due to no names being used, just the pronoun she, I was thrown off when the story turned from the main arc as I was not expecting it and thought it was still the main character.
I was so evenly mixed on She. I really enjoyed the main arc, but was confused by the side stories. I liked the writing of Michelle Latiolais but could not wrap my brain around the changing plot and characters. I am not generally a lover of short stories for just this reason, I don’t have the time to sink into the story and connect with the characters. I would recommend this for those that love shorts and know going in that the characters are not differentiated.
Favorite lines – Was her mother even capable of worry? Was that love? Could that be love? Her mother resided so deeply inside that passivity she could not find who or what her mother was.
Biggest cliché – I am an enigma.
Have you read She, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge